The first time I got on the New York subway three and a half weeks ago I immediately envied the seasoned New Yorkers. While I was holding on for dear life, they were completely lax and swaying with the squealing turns of the tracks. I felt like I had landed feet first, precariously jerked forward and backward with the breaks of the subway, into a world far from the rolling hills and small town charms of my little nook in the world.
In just three weeks I have walked as fast as I wanted and still haven’t been fast enough, felt annoyed with tourists flocking around Time Square while trying to get home, and had the best ramen of my life.
It seems cliché to say the city has changed me. Yet, for the last twenty-three years I have lived with someone I loved. I’m now 1500 miles away. I thought I would be incredibly lonely in the city and overwhelmed. But somehow the city swallows you up into it’s vast humanity and you just slip away. I’ve sat on a park bench in Madison Park and read Game of Thrones like I would in the middle of the river at home. I’ve had to pitch a magazine in three weeks for class and worked with bibliophiles after my own heart. I’ve walked absurd amounts all over the city while hopefully burning off calories from savory meals. I’ve also been pushed so far out of my comfort zone that I got to the point where I instinctively fell into survival mode.
Then while walking downtown by myself, the experience of where I was finally flooded in and my defenses fell. Everything became so calm and comfortable. The honking horns and steam drifting up from the man holes- I was in NYC.
I can’t imagine what going home will be like. I’ve met some people who actually spend more time in bookstores than I do (as well as drink ghastly amounts of tea and coffee like I do). I’ve heard executives from top magazine brands and soon top publishing houses as well. I’ve lived in Manhattan. What are the chances of that happening again? No probability at all.
I do miss my cat curling up next to me in bed at night and making breakfast with my fiancé every morning. I miss the stillness of the river and rustling cypress trees. But this, this is just a millisecond. A distant and fleeting star in my universe. But it is one that I won’t easily forget.
While NYC isn’t going to be my permanent home like I thought it might be and editorial isn’t the end all be all of my dream anymore, I wouldn’t ever change this moment. We really do leave little pieces of ourselves wherever we go.